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Raymond Wheeler impresses two different plaintiffs attorneys for two different reasons. “He really knows how to do an objective as possible evaluation risk analysis of a case,” says one. “He’s not going to tell you the case is without flaws. He tells you the strengths and weaknesses.” Says the other: “Ray Wheeler is someone who could take away a [good] case by charming away the jury.” Wheeler has been practicing labor and employment law for more than 30 years. Fresh out of Harvard Law School and a federal court clerkship in 1971, he joined a 45-lawyer firm called Morrison & Foerster. Today he is the labor and employment group chairman for the worldwide, 1,000-attorney behemoth. Wheeler has been the choice of judges in Santa Clara, Sonoma and San Diego counties to handle labor negotiations with court employees. In the 1970s he helped litigate a large class action against Crocker Bank, at the time the firm’s biggest client. More recently he was appearing in federal court in Wisconsin, turning back a bid for class certification in a discrimination case against United Parcel Service. The name Littler Mendelson is synonymous with employment law. As with Paul, Hastings, several Littler lawyers were mentioned as strong players, though no one individual received more than a few mentions. Nancy Pritikin got votes from two mediators. “A great trial lawyer and good in mediation,” said one, noting that both skills are rare in a single attorney. Littler partners Robert Lieber, Theodora Lee, Margaret Edwards, Henry Lederman and Garry Mathiason were mentioned, as were Littler alumnae Maureen McClain (now of Kauff McClain & McGuire), Jeffrey Tanenbaum (Nixon Peabody) and Barbara de Oddone (Dillingham & Murphy). “Littler does a very good job of training people,” says one plaintiffs attorney. Veteran employment lawyer Gary Siniscalco, Lynne Hermle’s partner at Orrick, received a couple of mentions. “He’s a very shrewd negotiator,” said a mediator. “Very protective of his clients. But no unnecessary edge.” Gilmore Diekmann Jr. of Seyfarth Shaw was mentioned twice. “He’s a very good trial lawyer and a very good appellate lawyer,” one opponent said. Pillsbury Winthrop’s Roberta Hayashi is “one of the notable players on the Silicon Valley side of things,” said a tech client. Heller Ehrman’s Patricia Gillette is the best an employer can get, according to a couple of plaintiffs attorneys. One described her as difficult to litigate against, “but a pleasure in every other context.”

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